Narayana Health City saves a baby born with multiple life-threatening conditions using ECMO

The baby was suffering from Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS) and Neonatal Sepsis

Narayana Health City, ECMO, Meconium Aspiration Syndrome, Neonatal Sepsis, Rajiv Aggarwal, Keshav Murthy, Sudesh Prabhu, Riyan Shetty, Riyan Shetty, Health City

The ECMO Unit of Narayana Health City added another feather to its cap by saving a newborn baby with multiple life-threatening conditions. The baby was suffering from meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) and neonatal sepsis and was treated using ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation).

Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS) is a medical condition that affects newborn babies. It occurs when the baby passes meconium (the baby's first stool) in the womb  and inhales it into his/ her lungs. Inhalation of meconium can result in severe breathing difficulty. According to medical literature, despite conventional management 10% of babies born with MAS, tend to have fatal outcomes. Neonatal sepsis is a type of infection in the blood which occurs due to bacteria. While the general incidence of sepsis is 14% the mortality owing to it is around 25%.

In this case the meconium aspiration syndrome was compounded by neonatal sepsis making his condition very critical. Due to this, the baby started developing respiratory failure.  As the baby required expert care, he was referred to Narayana Health City. At Narayana Health City the baby was immediately admitted to the NICU and was put on ventilator support. However, as the baby’s condition did not improve, the doctors advised ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation). ECMO is a life-sustaining intervention for patients with heart or lung failure.  It works by artificially removing the carbon dioxide and oxygenating the blood. The ECMO was administered on the baby by an expert team consisting of Dr Riyan Shetty (Head of Extracorporeal Life Support), Dr Sudesh Prabhu (Consultant Pediatric Cardiac Surgery), Dr Keshav Murthy (Consultant, Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia), Dr Rajiv Aggarwal (Consultant & HOD Pediatrics), Dr Harini Shreedharan (Consultant Neonatologist) and Prakash PVS (Consultant perfusionist).

Elaborating about the technology that save treatment, Dr Riyan Shetty, Head of Extracorporeal Life Support, Narayana Health City, said, “While we have had 100% survival using ECMO for meconium aspiration syndrome, this case was unique and challenging because the newborn also had an infection. The worldwide results of ECMO to save the lives of newborns with infections have been dismal. According to international data the success rate is only 48%. However, with our expert team we were able to  successfully treat and save the child.”

“Though life threatening, through timely intervention the mortality rate due to MAS and neonatal sepsis can be brought down drastically. Further, the right infrastructure equipped with capabilities to provide artificial ventilation, nitric oxide and a well-trained multidisciplinary medical team are also key to save children born with such complex conditions.” added Dr Rajiv Aggarwal, Consultant & HOD Pediatrics, Narayana Health City.
The expert team of doctors at Narayana Health City instituted ECMO on the baby through cannula in the neck. The extracorporeal circuit maintained the functioning of the baby’s heart, lungs and other organs  allowing the lungs and heart to recover. In 96 hours, the newborn’s lungs had recovered and he was weaned off  ECMO. The baby was  discharged in 16 days. .

Expressing his joy, Nandakumar, father of the baby said, “Me and my family have been eagerly waiting for the birth of our baby. Before we could rejoice the addition of a new member to our family we were greeted with the news of his critical condition. We were shattered. We are grateful to the doctors at Narayana Health City for their timely intervention. The team at Narayana Health City not only offered my child with the best in treatment, they were kind enough to address all our anxieties as well.”
Equipped with a level-three NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) and experienced team Narayana Health City is one of the leading hospitals that has the capability to treat complex pediatric conditions. This case is  testimony of the expertise that Narayana Health City has to offer.